Hearst Union Myths vs. Facts

We are hearing a lot of misinformation from Hearst management. It’s important to remind our coworkers there’s a reason Hearst management wants to throw out a bunch of these anti-union talking points: they’ll try anything to change the topic of the current conversation about whether we should have a voice. Here are a few things to look for:

Myth: “The union is an outside third party.”

FACT: We are the union! We have made a decision to organize the Hearst Union so that all of us can join together and have a voice when it comes to our pay, benefits, and working conditions. We will set the priorities and lead the effort to negotiate a fair contract that we’ll all get a chance to vote on. We are proud to join thousands of other media workers who’ve chosen to do the same and win a voice at work.

Myth: “Signing a card is a legally binding document that means you have abdicated your rights to ‘the union’ and ‘the union’ can make you go on strike!”

FACT: Signing a union authorization card is the way to register your support for union recognition. That’s it. Decisions about bargaining priorities and how to proceed will be made by us. We are forming a democratic union and joining the Writers Guild, which has been a shining example of union democracy. Any talk of ‘the union’ forcing people to strike is absurd.  

Myth: “Dues are expensive and might not be worth it.”

FACT: None of us will be responsible for union dues until we’ve negotiated and voted to ratify a contract. Dues are $40/quarter, plus 1.5% of salary. Why would any of us vote to ratify a contract that wasn’t worth it?

Myth: “You could lose some of the great things you have now and wind up worse off!”

FACT: Once our union is recognized, management can’t unilaterally reduce benefits or compensation. We will all fill out bargaining surveys, elect a bargaining committee of our peers, and negotiate a contract according to the priorities we set. Why would we negotiate and vote to ratify a contract that makes things worse?

Myth: “Hearst can designate who is “management” and those employees are automatically ineligible to be in the union.”

FACT: The company does not have the right to unilaterally decide who is eligible for the union. The process at every other media company has included discussion between the union and the company over job roles and reaching an agreement on which titles/positions are eligible.

Myth: “The union could make it impossible for people to grow in their roles or try new things. We would lose flexibility.”

FACT: We will negotiate a contract that reflects our desire to set minimum standards and allow for all of us to receive fair compensation for taking on new roles. We want to grow and be flexible—with protection from exploitation.

Myth: “Hearst will never agree to a contract. This could take years.”

FACT: Once we win union recognition, Hearst will be legally obligated to bargain in good faith. It won’t be easy to negotiate a fair contract, but workers at dozens of other media outlets have organized in the last few years and reached agreement on terrific contracts.

Myth: “Hearst can’t give raises if you bring in the union.”

FACT: Hearst can give any raises it wants at any time. In addition, they should recognize our union in order to set minimum standards that reflect all of the great work we do.